How to Create a Better Work Environment for Your Employees
No matter where you work, the overall attitude and atmosphere of a workplace can be essential to employees maximizing their potential. An office may have the most educated, experienced, and capable employees, but if their surroundings are uncomfortable, negative, or otherwise unaccommodating, their productivity and potential may suffer.
Creating a better work environment for employees may seem obvious, but adequate compensation and air conditioning isn’t all that’s necessary for a “better work environment.”
Here are five simple ways to dramatically improve your work environment and have your employees working like the superstars and ninjas they’re advertised to be!
Improve Communication with Your Employees
Communication is all about transparency and trust. According to a 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association, nearly 1 in 4 workers stated they didn’t trust their employer – and only half believed they were open and upfront.
Not being honest with employees can result in feelings of discouragement and resentment, and keeping your employees in the dark can create a divide between those employees who are “privileged” to know such information. Giving your staff the whole picture and making them feel valued can instantly improve morale, teamwork, and attitude in a group.
Valuable feedback is one of the most effective ways to empower, validate, and motivate your employees – and something that most workers lack in the office. A survey by PwC asserted that more than 75% of respondents believed feedback was valuable – yet less than 30% of them said they received any.
Work-Life Balance & Flexibility
To say work-life balance is important to employees is a massive understatement. Findings from a survey by Deloitte stated that work-life balance is the most important thing millennials look for in a job, valuing it over traits such as career progression and professional development programs.
Indeed, the number of families where both parents work full-time is increasing rapidly – in 2015, that number was 46%, up from 31% in 1970. To most, family always comes first, and making it easier to unplug from the office as workers clock out can be vital to their longevity and morale.
Encourage Breaks During Work Hours
A 2012 study found that 39% of North American workers ate lunch primarily at their desks. Even though that’s technically a break in the eyes of the time sheet, taking a break physically away from your desk can provide numerous other benefits.
- It can improve your physical health. An inactive sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.
- It can save your eyes. According to the American Optometric Association, 58% of adults have experienced eye strain or problems with their eyesight due to extended computer use.
- It can improve productivity. A 2011 study showed that brief periods of time away from a task can dramatically improve one’s focus on that task for long periods of time.
- They can foster creativity. Stepping away from your desk can help recharge your brain and inspire your creative energies.
Even something as seemingly minor as two fifteen-minute breaks a day can do wonders for productivity and morale in the workplace.
Invest in Your Employees
Employee turnover not only hurts a company’s bottom line (replacing an employee costs, on average, 20% of their yearly salary), but it also affects morale in a significantly negative way. Fostering growth not only combats turnover, but the low morale associated with it.
The best way to show employees that they are valued is to show them that you genuinely care about their success not just as an employee, but as a person. Investing in an employee’s growth can foster a sense of purpose, prevent stagnation, and ultimately keep an employee more engaged. This means encouraging growth in four ways:
- Financial growth. Incentive programs to reward performance offers a goal for employees to strive towards.
- Professional growth. Investing in things such as certification programs and training seminars can not only bolster the skills of employees, but also keep them engaged and motivated.
- Career growth. Giving a promotion can effectively show employees progress, and the fruits of their labor.
- Personal growth. Investing in workplace culture to foster valuable relationships and camaraderie among your employees can keep them highly motivated, even in leaner periods.
When in Doubt, Listen to Your Employees
If you’re not sure what would work for your employees, it never hurts to actually ask them. After all, what you may think is beneficial to staff may actually be redundant or not useful at all. You can always ask for feedback via suggestion boxes, comment cards, and customer engagement questionnaires.
Ultimately, asking for feedback not only provides you with valuable information to create a better work environment, but also shows employees that you care about their well-being too. Florin Gray can assist you if you believe that your work environment is engaging in illegal practices.